At 98 pounds Sean Ramsay was just too small for bantam rep ice hockey.
Cut from the Racquet Club squad he wanted to be on, the Saanich resident didn’t give up. The next year he grew a little and switched to Juan de Fuca where he played bantam AAA.
Initially there was disappointment, but in hindsight Ramsay said he can’t blame anyone. And all indications are he’ll be a BCHL regular with the Victoria Grizzlies who committed to him for the 2019-20 season.
“I did end up scoring lots of points on JdF, but at Racquet Club it might have been hard for them to make the decision. I was pretty light, and [bantam] is the first year of physical contact,” Ramsay said.
Ramsay recently broke the single season scoring record for the midget prep Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League. The previous record was held by Holden Kodak, currently with the WHL Kootenay Ice, who had 92 points in 35 games. Ramsay broke the record on Jan. 6 in Delta and now has 45 goals, and 94 points in 33 games.
It’s enough to get him on the radar of a number of NCAA Div. 1 schools.
“I’ve talked to a few, they’ll be watching to see how I develop and perform in Junior A,” Ramsay said.
He’s also sprouted to 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, big enough for Junior A, and still growing. Nonetheless, the late growth was a factor. Ramsay elected to play an extra year in the midget prep Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) and just turned 18. He’s in Grade 12 at Belmont, and is on the ice five times a week with his academy at West Hills arena.
He’s also played three games as an affiliate with the Grizzlies this year and though he didn’t put up any points, Grizzlies coach and general manager Craig Didmon isn’t worried.
“He’ll be a good player for us, we’re committed to having him in a uniform for next year and hopefully to get him in some games down the stretch here,” Didmon said. “He is a late bloomer in the top age group for [CSSHL] so he’s expected to score but he has a good skill set. It’s another jump to Junior A but he should be able to make it.”
In the meantime, the Grizzlies are talent-laden with four NHL ranked players – including BCHL’s top scorer Alex Newhook – making it a hard roster for a local to crack. Only five of the Grizz regulars are listed from Victoria this year.
“I’ve been following the Grizzlies this year, I know they have a chance to make a run in the playoffs,” Ramsay said, adding “I’ve been looking forward to playing for them next year.”
In the CSSHL Ramsay centres a line with local wingers Kyle Brown (80 points) and Gabe Schovanek (73 points). Respectively the trio are first, third and fourth in CSSHL scoring. All three are 2001-born players in their final year of midget prep and like Ramsay, Brown and Schovanek have also been offered spots into the BCHL next year.
Ultimately, Ramsay seeks a spot playing hockey in college, something his dad Ian, once a Nanaimo Clipper, did with the University of Denver Pioneers in the early 1980s.
“For success, I just need to put in the effort and work out more, I’m at five workouts a week right now,” Ramsay said. “Coaches Mark Kosic and Mike Stutzel [with PCHA] have been excellent.”